A Mountain Sanctuary

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Just an hour out of Melbourne, in the lush forests of the Dandenong Ranges, lies one of the most magical places on earth.

Tired of city life, in the 1930’s William Ricketts bought a four-acre bush block on Mount Dandenong and called it Potter’s Sanctuary. Highly critical of the modern world’s wasteful, violent ways, he believed in the spirit of the land and living as close to nature as possible. He travelled between Arnhem Land and the Dandes frequently, sculpting the faces of Aboriginal people he met on his travels and installing the sculptures on his property.

The result is a series of hyper-realistic clay sculptures fully integrated in the bush setting. With moss and ferns growing over them, they look as natural in the landscape as the flora. It’s a spiritual and psychedelic experience all at once – you almost expect the busts to start speaking to you as you pass by.

The Victorian Government bought the land adjoining Rickett’s property in the 1960’s to preserve the sanctuary for generations to come. The sanctuary is now free for all visitors and the property has been greatly improved since I last visited ten years ago. You can visit Rickett’s house, kiln and workshop, and even download an audio walking tour from the Park Victoria Website.

Standing in the peace of the forest and hearing cry of a Lyrebird (Rickett’s favourite animal) you’ll become dumbstruck.
William Ricketts Sanctuary
Mt. Dandenong Tourist Rd, Mount Dandenong
Free admission
10am – 4.30pm daily (closed Christmas Day)